Seven critically injured after blast rips through building in central Paris

At least 16 people have been injured, seven of them seriously, after a large explosion in central Paris, the BBC reports.

The blast took place in a building next to the Val de Grâce church in Rue Saint-Jacques in the fifth arrondissement of the French capital.

A building next to the church was engulfed by flames and much of it appears to have collapsed.

According to witnesses quoted by French media, there was a strong smell of gas before the blast.

Paris prosecutor Laure Beccuau said after arriving at the scene that initial checks of camera footage suggested the explosion occurred within the building, Le Parisien newspaper reported.

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